BATON ROUGE – On National Prescription Drug Take Back Day this Saturday, Oct. 26, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana reminds Louisianians of the role they can play to promote prescription drug safety. Launched more than a decade ago by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), the day is meant to raise awareness about the importance of properly disposing expired, unused or leftover drugs to prevent their abuse and misuse.
This Saturday, Louisianians can visit drop-off locations statewide between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Locations are listed at the DEA’s drug safety website.
Louisianians can get rid of medication safely year-round at permanent drug drop boxes in more than 55 parishes across the state. These boxes have been installed by a partnership among Blue Cross, Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry, the National Association of Drug Diversion Investigators and law enforcement offices throughout the state.
The boxes are securely installed, typically housed within law enforcement agencies, and available 24/7. All turn-ins are anonymous; no questions will be asked. A map of all drug drop box locations is online at www.bcbsla.com/safedrugdrop.
Studies show why it’s so important to rid homes of potentially dangerous prescription drugs. Teenagers often get high for the first time on prescription drugs from their parents’ medicine cabinets. Younger children, the elderly and even pets can get very sick if they accidentally swallow medicines not meant for them.
Opioids kept around the home can be especially dangerous. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), nearly half of opioid overdose deaths nationally happen to someone who is taking these drugs by prescription for pain relief—drugs like OxyContin®, Vicodin®, Percocet® and morphine. Leaving such drugs in homes also makes it more likely they could be stolen or accidentally consumed by children or pets in the household.
In Louisiana, our drug overdose rate is higher than the national average. According to the Louisiana Attorney General’s Office, 780 residents die from opioid overdoses each year. Our state has seen deaths by drug overdose triple since 1999, and we are now in the top 10 states for drug overdose death rates. In New Orleans, overdose deaths are outpacing homicides.
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana customers who want information about drug or alcohol treatment for themselves or family members covered on their plans can call the 24/7 Substance Use Member Hotline at 1-877-326-2458 to speak with a clinical professional. The hotline is operated by New Directions, an independent vendor that provides behavioral health services for Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana and its subsidiaries.
For more information on the opioid epidemic and how you can lower your risk, visit www.EndtheEpidemicLA.org.
For a map of Blue Cross’ permanent drop boxes, visit bcbsla.com/safedrugdrop.
For more information on National Drug Take Back Day, visit https://www.deadiversion.usdoj.gov/drug_disposal/takeback.
About Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana is committed to our mission to improve the health and lives of Louisianians. Founded in New Orleans in 1934, we are a tax-paying nonprofit health insurer with offices in every major region to serve our customers. We were recognized in 2019 as an honoree of The Civic 50, named by Points of Light as one of the 50 most community-minded companies in the United States.
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. We are a private mutual company, owned by our policyholders, with an independent Louisiana Board of Directors and no shareholders. We invite all Louisianians to visit our website atwww.bcbsla.com or talk to us on social media.